Why do we think of lifelong learning as an “old people” thing?

by Tsiuwen Yeo

Lifelong learning is a term that many young and mid-career professionals instinctively shy away from, usually without stopping to consider why.

Think about it: the first two decades or so of our lives are spent in classrooms, where we try to (and are made to) absorb knowledge like a sponge with water. Also, acquiring deep skills is all the rage now, since five cabinet ministers confirmed its importance at the same time.

But education is probably the furthest thing from your mind when you’ve just spent a quarter of your life in classrooms. Perhaps that’s why younger folks tend to associate lifelong learning with older and more senior individuals – think recreational classes targeted at retirees.